Thursday, April 26, 2012

Emotion Jack o'laterns

I have to give credit to Nick Jr for the idea behind this super easy craft.  Until a month or so ago, between the shows on Nick Jr there were occasionally craft and recipe segments between the shows on Nick Jr.  I saw a no sew Kai-lan craft where you make a Rintoo face to play with different emotions.  Come Halloween, I adapted the idea for jack o'lanterns.  What is great about this craft is that it is not only super easy to make, but is a very useful toddler and preschooler game for talking about emotions. 

What You Need:
Two pieces of orange felt
One piece of black felt
Green felt (optional)
Batting or cotton balls
Paper (optional)
Pencil (optional)

 What to Do:
I made this craft alone because Natalie was just barely two at the time.  An older toddler could help glue and stuff the pumpkin; a preschooler could help cut out the black shapes. 

I drew the pumpkins first on scrap paper so I got a shape I liked, then cut them out.  I traced them onto the orange felt and cut it out.  I put glue 90% of the way around the pumpkin, then places the second piece on top.  After it dried, I stuffed it with cotton balls because we didn't have any batting in the house.  I then glued the opening shut.  I finished it off by cutting a stem out of green felt and gluing it on the top. 

Next, I drew toothy mouths on white paper.  I had a little trouble visualizing how they would come out since you are drawing the shape of the hole.  I used paper shapes as templates for the felt.  I then made a whole bunch of circles, squares, triangles, crescents, diamonds, and rectangles of different sizes.

I made two pumpkins and enough black pieces for two to play at once.  Partly I did this because it was so easy to make, but also so I could play with my daughter instead of doing it for her. 

Natalie making a sad face.

I pulled it out again months later for a change of pace.

  • You can start easy with just identifying different emotions and build on that with role playing and talking about life events as your child gets older.    
  • You can transcribe a story your child tells about the pumpkin.  
  • This game allows great opportunities to talk about shapes and sizes.  
  • There are lots of books about Halloween or fall that include pumpkins.  A favorite for us is Five Little Pumpkins, which you can also just sing as a song without a book. You can try to copy the faces you see in books. 
  • This is a great addition to going pumpkin picking or carving your real pumpkin. 
  • This craft can easily be adapted again for snowmen or just a regular face and still serve the same purpose. 

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